NFL Week 17 Special Props Odds and Betting Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 12/26/2013
I can't believe it's the final Sunday of the 2013 regular season already, although I should be able to continue with these NFL specials into the playoffs. Hopefully you took my advice last week on the “over” 1.5 teams scoring at least 40 points. Three did: Cincinnati (vs. Minnesota), New England (vs. Baltimore, that one shocked me) and Philadelphia (crushing Chicago, another surprise). That paid out at -120. Alas, it was a somewhat low-scoring week overall, at least in the modern NFL (ton of unders hit), so the total points didn't exceed 725.5, which I had expected.
Let's start with a few Bovada quarterback specials for this week. Denver's Peyton Manning set the NFL record with his 51st touchdown pass last week and can break Drew Brees' single-season passing yardage mark of 5,476 this week. Manning has 5,211, so that would seem rather easy against a pretty porous Raiders team that Manning torched for 374 yards and three scores earlier this season. However, here's why I like the “no” (+700) much more than the “yes” (-1500).
Yes, it's true that New England plays Buffalo at the same time of the Broncos-Raiders game. Should New England somehow lose, a long shot I grant you, then Denver has nothing to play for because the Broncos will sew up the AFC's top seed. What if it's 17-0 Buffalo at halftime? OK, that's the lesser of my reasons. My main reason for saying no is that if Denver is up, say, 31-3, at the half, I could see Manning resting those creaky ankles as Denver won't want to risk it. If he tweaks them even a little, he's coming out. So can he get 266 yards in a half or so of action? Certainly possible, but at +700 I'm taking the chance. I happen to think Manning cares less about the record.
The big news in the NFL this week was the apparent season-ending back injury suffered by the Cowboys' Tony Romo. So of course the site offers props on Kyle Orton, the new Dallas starter.
His totals against a pretty bad Eagles pass defense are: 250.5 yards (both -115), 1.5 touchdowns (“under” -130 favorite) and .5 interceptions (over -250 favorite). Orton hasn't thrown a significant pass as a Cowboy, so it's tough to judge there. In his final three starts in 2011 with Kansas City, Orton exceeded the yards twice, the picks once and the touchdowns never. This Dallas offense is much better than that unit, however. The Eagles allowed 382 yards, two scores and a pick to Matt Cassel two weeks ago. It's just not hard to get 250 yards these days. I'd go over on all three.
A very interesting one is whether Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will be pulled in Game 17 against Green Bay at any point for reasons that aren't injury related. No is -700 and yes +400. Were Marc Trestman to do that, it would have to mean the end of Cutler's days in Chicago. He's going to be a free agent as it is. Cutler was pulled last week but because it was a blowout and he was under siege. It would make for a great story and interesting offseason were Cutler to be yanked, especially with Aaron Rodgers back and playing through a collarbone injury (Bears fans already question Cutler's toughness), but I can't see it.
Finally, Monday is "Black Monday" in the NFL when several head coaches are expected to get their pink slips. Bovada's prop isn't limited to Monday, but how many coaches will be fired before the first playoff game kicks off: over/under 4.5, with under a -140 favorite and over at even. I love the over. I expect for sure gone are Washington's Mike Shanahan, Minnesota's Leslie Frazier, Tennessee's Mike Munchak, Detroit's Jim Schwartz and Tampa Bay's Greg Schiano. The Cowboys' Jason Garrett probably is gone if Dallas looks bad Sunday. The Raiders' Dennis Allen and Jets' Rex Ryan (he is -300 to not return to the Jets and +200 to stay) also are on shaky ground. This seems like easy money.
Some owners will want to fire their guys right away to talk to Penn State's Bill O'Brien. He is -140 to be an NFL coach for Week 1 of 2014 and even money to not be. If you can read between the lines, O'Brien seems like a goner from Happy Valley. He quietly amended his Penn State contract last summer to lower the price of an NFL buyout from $19.33 million to $6.48 million. Another college would have to pay Penn State $11.08 million. No school will do that, not even Texas. An NFL team would for sure, and O'Brien by all accounts has the NFL in his blood. The Vikings and Texans already have made backchannel inroads with O'Brien, and the Lions will have interest. O'Brien could work wonders for the Lions' Matthew Stafford, who has regressed, or perhaps if Houston takes Teddy Bridgewater No. 1 in the 2014 draft. He's done enough at Penn State, which still can't play in a bowl for two years. O'Brien is in the NFL next year.
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